BYU Football Fall Camp: Five ‘newer’ newcomers to watch

One thing is for certain: There are plenty of newcomers to follow when BYU football fall camp begins next week.
The players report on Monday and introductions are in order: More than 50 athletes new to the Cougar football program will be donning jerseys for fall camp, a huge amount of turnover for any college team.
But there is “new” — some of those players have already competed for BYU in spring football — and “newer” — those who are joining the team for the first time.
For instance, running back Aidan Robbins, who ran for more than 1,000 yards last year at UNLV, had off-season hand surgery and participated in drill-work only during spring football. That’s “new.”
As for “newer,” there is a strong group of transfers, members of the 2023 recruiting class and preferred walk-ons who will be taking their first official reps as Cougars.
These players are already a bit behind because they missed spring football, but they are talented enough to overcome that barrier and find a way to contribute this season. The coaches are on the spot to develop the 1s and 2s at each position and the number of newcomers make that a challenge.
BYU fans should expect to see plenty of these addition on the field in 2023: Cougar coaches didn’t bring in a Top 20 transfer portal class just to have them sit on the bench.
Here’s a look at five “newer” newcomers that deserve attention during fall camp.
1. Simi Moala 6-7 310 Sr. OT
Moala is really a gift from the football gods for the BYU offensive line. He started 18 games at Utah (2018-2021) but family concerns prompted Moala to transfer to Jackson State in 2022 and eventually step away from football. He’s back now and focused on making his senior season special. Moala obviously has a lot of work to do but is a legit NFL talent if he can find his groove. The offensive line is replacing quite of bit of talent that left and Moala is a huge addition to the depth here.
2. Keelan Marion 6-0 200 So. WR
BYU fans are probably focused on Cody Epps, Chase Roberts or Keanu Hill taking over as WR1 but whose to say Marion can’t become a go-to receiver for the Cougars? A transfer from UConn, Marion started all 12 games for the Huskies in 2021 and led the team in receiving yards (474) on 28 catches along with five touchdowns. If he’s recovered from an injury that limited him to just five games in 2022, Marion could be a real threat for the Cougars. He has the ability to work into the rotation and make big plays.
3. Caleb Etienne 6-8 330 Jr. OT
Besides being just an enormous human being, Etienne was good enough to start all 13 games for Oklahoma State in 2022. What better way to prepare for the Big 12 then to bring someone in who has already fought those battles? Etienne has big-time talent written all over him. The expectation is for Etienne to bookend with Kingsley Suamataia at the tackle spots. If Etienne finds his new home welcoming, the Cougars could boast one of the Big 12’s strongest offensive lines.
4. Jackson Bowers 6-5 245 Fr. TE
The Cougars are set with No. 1 tight end Isaac Rex but Bowers could make some noise in his first year. He was a four-star recruit, the No. 22 tight end prospect in the country according to 24/7 Sports. Bowers had 110 receptions for 1,540 yards and 12 touchdowns in his high school career. He has the size and the skill to become BYU’s next great tight end sooner rather than later. Look for him to get some reps in double tight end looks, presenting another big target for new quarterback Kedon Slovis.
5. Siale Esera 6-3 245 Fr. LB
Discussion about BYU’s linebackers starts with returnees Ben Bywater and Max Tooley, along with Utah State transfer AJ Vongphachanh and Oregon transfer Harrison Taggart. But don’t forget about Esera, who was a four-star commit out of Timpview High School and the No. 4 overall prospect in the state. He is college-ready and could bring his physical, aggressive style right onto the field for significant reps at BYU in 2023.

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